Team MRF have had a successful weekend at Rally New Caledonia, the second round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), with a 1-2 finish.
Driving a Race Torque-prepared Skoda Fabia Super 2000, Gaurav Gill, with Australian co-driver Glenn Macneall, won the rally, with their team-mates, Chris Atkinson and Stephane Prevot, finishing second.
The weather conditions made the event a difficult one for crews - hot, sunny conditions then turned to tropical downpours which created several deep water crossings, playing havoc with the electrics of the cars, and punctures caused dramas and time losses, too.
Team MRF's Chris Atkinson went into the final day of the event as leader ahead of team-mate Gill, but he handed that lead over on Stage 15, losing over six minutes as a result of electrical issues sustained in a water crossing.
“It’s been a very wet rally which created several deep water crossings and water got into the electrics of the car," Atkinson said.
“The remaining stages today weren’t an issue in terms of water so it’s a shame we couldn’t produce the overall win but it’s great Gaurav and Glenn could pick up their first win for the year and make it two-from-two for the MRF Tyres Skoda team.”
Rally New Caledonia's Leg 1 consisted of four stages on Friday and another nine stages on Saturday. At the end of the Leg, Atkinson lead Gill by 41.4 seconds after a dominant drive in his Skoda. The final day wrapped up with another six stages of competition. As the APRC points system awards points over both legs of the rally, the Leg 1 win and Leg 2's second place have added to Atkinson's healthy Championship points tally after his win at the opening round in New Zealand last month.
Gill finished third in Round 1, and his win at New Caledonia gives him a healthy tally, too, and gives Team MRF a handy lead in the Championship.
The next round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship is the International Rally of Queensland, to be held on May 26 and 27.
Results Rally New Caledonia
1. Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall, Skoda Fabia, (Team MRF);
2. Chris Atkinson/Stephane Prevot, Skoda Fabia, (Team MRF), +4:52.2;
3. Brian Green/Fleur Pederson, Mitsubishi Evo IX, (Brian Green Motorsport), +10:53.5
4. Emmanuel Guigou/Gabin Moreau, Renault Clio, (Emmanuel Guigou), +7:06.3.
Photo: APSM TV (Asia Pacific Sports Media and TV)
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